Many companies rely on local traffic in order to succeed. Brick and mortar businesses such as restaurants, beauty parlours, bakeries, or small retail outlets, will rely on local customers being able to easily locate and visit their business. And if your business is in a low footfall area, it is even more important to reach out to potential customers online. There are many ways to market your business locally, but a well thought out local SEO strategy is one of the most effective.
Consider the following stats:
- Almost half of all searches on Google are for local businesses
- The majority of local searches are carried out on a mobile device
- Over 50% of local searchers visit the business within 48 hours
- 14% of local searchers are looking to visit the business immediately
- Profile photos, SERP position and Google reviews are considered the most important factors when searching for a local business
The above stats show the importance of having a well-designed and fully optimised mobile website, in order to attract local customers.
Mobile Web Design
The best way of creating an effective mobile website is to use responsive web design methodology. So, what exactly is responsive web design? A responsive website uses media queries to change, show, or hide elements within the page according to the screen size of the various devices. This allows you to simplify the design on smaller devices, make text larger and hide more complex elements, which results in a better experience for each user. By having a responsive website instead of a separate mobile site, all content can be updated from a single source, saving you time to get on with the running of your business.
As with all websites, user experience is the key. Ensure that your mobile version is optimised for people who are “on the go”. Make sure it is easy to navigate, easy to read and easy for them to contact and find you.
Optimising Your Website For Mobile Search
Whilst best practice applies to all websites, desktop or mobile, there are rules which will can help your mobile website perform better in the mobile SERPs. The following are some of the key mobile ranking factors in 2018:
- Page Speed
- AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)
- Content (word length, keyword saturation, lists)
- Social Media Integration
- Optimise for Local Search
You can read more on each of these ranking factors here.
Optimise Your Mobile Website for Local SEO?
The following tips will give you the best chance of driving those potential customers through your door.
Google My Business
You know those 3 Google results displayed underneath the map? Well that’s Google’s local search results and if your site is well optimised your business could be here too!
But… you can’t appear here until you claim your Google My Business page. To do this you go to https://www.google.co.uk/business/ and click on Start Now to begin the process. Google will send you a verification PIN either by post card or telephone, after which you can login and verify your account.The next step is to complete your listing by adding a company description, business categories, address, opening hours, and some good quality photos to show everyone how fantastic your business is.
Online reviews are important for your position within the local SERPS, and also to build trust when potential customers are searching online. There are many websites and directories that allow customers to leave reviews, but two of the highest profile (and easiest) are Google My Business and your Facebook company page.
Allowing reviews can be scary for businesses, as you can’t control what your customers are saying about you. But, if you concentrate on providing fantastic products and services, your customers will have no option but to sing your praises. According to a survey carried out by Search Engine Land, 7 out of 10 customers would be happy to leave a review if asked. So, be brave and ask your customers. Make it easy for them by handing out a card, or emailing them, with info on how to leave a review.
When Google compiles business information, it uses a number of sources including national directories, local directories, and company registers to name a few. This information is used to corroborate addresses, contact details and services provided. So, it makes sense to ensure that your business has a profile on all relevant directories.
UK directories of note include yell.com, yelp.co.uk, freeindex.co.uk and opendi.co.uk but there are many more available. Local directories will vary from area to area, so carry out a search for business directories within your town and see what comes up. It is also worth searching for business directories which relate to your specific industry, as these will be highly relevant to your business and may also provide direct traffic to your website.
According to Moz.com: “Schema.org is the result of collaboration between Google, Bing, Yandex, and Yahoo! to help you provide the information their search engines need to understand your content and provide the best search results possible at this time”.
Schema is code that can be added into your web pages that give the search engines more information about your business, products, services, or content. This information can then be added by the search engines into your search results snippet.
The examples above show schema data being used to add the rating, calories and time it takes to cook the recipe. These rich snippets can be used to help encourage click-throughs. For example, people looking for a lower calorie option will be more likely to click on the BBC Good Food listing.
Interestingly, less than a third of all websites currently use schema markup, so integrating this into your web pages could help steal a march on your competition and (possibly) even rank higher.
For many businesses cracking the local SEO code is make or break and could mean the difference between success or failure. As with any SEO campaign, it is an ongoing process with many facets, but following the above steps will set you in good stead.